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Same-Sex Marriage in Modern Family. Ivana P. Alonso INGL 4057. About Modern Family. American comedy series which debuted on ABC on 2009 Mockumentary style, the fictional characters frequently talk directly into the camera

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Same sex marriage in modern family

Same-Sex Marriagein Modern Family

Ivana P. Alonso

INGL 4057

About modern family
About Modern Family

American comedy series which debuted on ABC on 2009

Mockumentary style, the fictional characters frequently talk directly into the camera

Tells the life and relationship of a family consisted of three immediate ones

Mitchell, Cameron and their adopted daughter Lily

Modern family clips
Modern Family Clips


Social construction or essentialist
Social construction or Essentialist

Social construction



Opposite sex

Same-sex marriage



Gay and lesbian relationships


  • Why did this interest me?

  • What do you believe it is saying to society?

  • How did society receive this?

    • “La produccióntrata de tratar el tema de los gays lo más normal posible”

    • Se nospresentanvariassituacinesque (Mitchell & Cameron) enfrentancomo padres homosexuales en unasociedadheterosexista…son unafamilia tan normal como la tradicional…”

    • “Normal, I guess, representa la realidad de la sociedadmoderna”

Queering relationships
Queering Relationships

  • Our society has long viewed queer sexualities as “…deviant, sinful, or both..” (Ginsberg, 1999)

  • Based on the idea that heterosexuality is the ultimate and best form of sexuality

  • The term family has been synonymous with heterosexuality

  • Specific brand of heterosexuality (marriage, baby making, monogamy, ownership of property, espousing middle class and white class values)

  • The biological act of reproduction has been, and continues to be, a “defining feature” of families (Seidman, 1991)

Gayle rubin 1993
Gayle Rubin (1993)

Charmed circle

Outer limits

good, normal and natural


marriage, monogamy

sexual activity

being restricted to the private sphere

same generation

bad, abnormal, unnatural


cross-generational sex

sexual activity outside of marriage

non procreative sex

Same sex marriage in modern family

  • When homosexuality is pictured it is hardly sexualized (heterosexuality > homosexuality)

  • Long term monogamous relationship is superior

  • Homosexuality approaches legitimacy only so far as it reflects middle class conventional forms (Rubin,1993)

  • Heteronormative discourse produces (not repress) gay male subjects (DavinGrindstaff, 2003)

Queer nation slagle 1995
Queer Nation (Slagle, 1995) (heterosexuality > homosexuality)

  • Queer individuals are unique and that simply because they are different does not justify oppression by the dominant, heterosexist movement

  • Differences in the various individual identities should be celebrated

  • Goes for the broadest and most explicit assertion of presence express and communicate they are gay

  • “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it”

  • Queer relationships go against the grain of heteronormativity and heterosexist beliefs and practices

  • Many same-sex marriages, even domestic parternships do not qualify as queer relationships

Cameron mitchell traditional couple fitzpatrick jandt myrick edgar 1994
Cameron & Mitchell: Traditional Couple (heterosexuality > homosexuality)Fitzpatrick, Jandt, Myrick & Edgar, 1994

  • Homosexual couples are characterized by being closed or sexually exclusive

  • Traditional – conventional ideological values about relationships, demonstrate interdependence

  • Tend to avoid conflict more than they realize, but in general are cooperative and conciliatory.

  • They value parenting, spending time with each other in close proximity and place marriage (duality) over independence

Lesbians gays and the media fred fejes kevin petrich 1993
Lesbians, Gays and the Media (heterosexuality > homosexuality)Fred Fejes & Kevin Petrich (1993)

  • In the 1980’s “comedy programming presented homosexual characters who, aside from a few stereotypical behaviors (sharper wit, more affeminate or “sensitive” manner”) were heterosexual in every other sense

  • Gays and lesbians rarely are presented as members of a larger homosexual community, gays and lesbians are secondary or occasional characters who exist primarily in a heterosexual environment

  • Example: Jay, Gloria, Claire & Phil: white, middle class, married, child conceiving and monogamy

Same sex marriage in modern family

  • Sexual behavior between homosexual characters is generally off limits; television homosexuals are de-sexed and without desire

  • Mainstream network television does not present gays and lesbians in the context of their own identity, they are woven into the dominant heterosexual metanarrative (Leo, 1989; Gross, in press)

  • Homophobia has been replaced by heterosexism (Fejes & Petrich)

Traditional off limits; television homosexuals are de-sexed and without desire

  • Same sex couples have discovered that relationship stability is facilitated by traditional patterns, they “act out” traditional understanding of ongoing relationships

  • There are more traditional individuals in the homosexual than in the heterosexual sample

  • Modern Family portrays liberation theory and heterosexualizes the gay couple as traditional

  • White middle class and gender roles

Conclusion off limits; television homosexuals are de-sexed and without desire

  • Modern Family portrays liberation theory and heterosexualizes the gay relationship

  • Gays are being heterosexualized

  • They’re being fit into categories and created by heterosexual customs and beliefs

  • Queer Nation tries to break the heterosexist system

“A gay or lesbian regular network program with gay or lesbian main characters is far in the future” (Fejes & Petrich, 1993)

More acceptance and less discrimination or censure

Society still has a long road ahead in terms of homosexuality, their acceptance and their movements